Shshi and Nasute Languages Compared
I lifted the following notes directly from my Shshi language document and I was pleased to find that the tables remained intact and legible — nothing was lost! This material is entirely unedited — remains just as I first wrote it a few years ago — but I thought it might be of interest to some of the conlangers. I tried to compare the four termite languages that I use in later volumes of “The Labors of Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head,” complete with theoretical roots. All the languages are supposed to share a common ancestry.
Language had begun to evolve before the two ethnic groups split. The three languages (Shum’za, Nasute, and Shei’kwai) are now comparable to widely diverse Indo-European tongues, e.g., Inj and extinct Armenian. Each has dialects; some dialects are mutually comprehensible, as, e.g., Da’no’no and Shum’za. Northern Nasute and Shkei’akh’zei are mutually comprehensible dialects of a Nasute sublanguage, while Southern Nasute and Desert Shshi are mutually comprehensible dialects of a second Nasute sublanguage. The Shei’kwai (or Tramontane, or Yo’sho’zei/Gwai’sho’zei) language is distinct. A cognate system can be developed for the three languages. A discussion of the words for mother and king follows.
|ma’na’ta||na’tu’ta||ta’tzi||See notes below table||mother, female progenitor|
|na’sha’ma||ma’mo’sa||hwa’no’tze||*ma-sa-na*na-ma-sa*na-ma-a||king, male progenitor|
|na (da’na)||mo’te||*ma||holy, sacred|
A discussion of the designation for mother and King: The Shum’za word, ma’na’ta|, appears to mean male-holy-female; na’sha’ma|, holy-you are [perhaps, existing one]-male. The Northern Nasute (hereafter called NN) word for mother is na’tu’ta|, which means male-inside-female. (In NN mythology, the Nameless Mother had no inseminator; the first created entities occurred by parthenogenesis.) Therefore, ma’na’ta| derives from the hypothetical roots *ma (Shshi na, NN mo), meaning holy; *na (Shshi ma, NN na), meaning male; and *ta (Shshi ta, NN ta). Thus, ma’na’ta derives from roots meaning holy-male-female, which is almost identical to the NN derivation.
Similarly, the Shshi word for King, na’sha’ma, derives from *ma-sa-na, or holy-more [greater]-male. The Nasute ma’mo’sa| derives from *na-ma-sa, or male-more-holy, exactly the same thing.
In general, the Western Shshi language family has retained the archetypal forms more closely than the Shum’za has and the Yo’sho’zei dialect is probably the closest.
Comparative Information on Northern Nasute (NN)
Nouns and adjectives in NN do not have gender, but adjectives have number (singular, double, and plural).
King names are four syllables and end in ‘ma.
Mother names are four syllables and end in ‘ta.
Warrior names always end in –a and have 5 syllables.
Alate names have only three syllables.
Worker names usually have two syllables, but no hard and fast rule.
Hypothetical *s becomes sh in Shshi.
Initial e’ is the infinitive marker.
Regular infinitives end in -p, -b, or -r. There are approximately 20 known irregular verbs, including to be, to do or act, to see
Negative verbs are formed by suffixing ’re to verb form.
Plurals (two or more) are formed by suffixing se’; stones, se’koi’ze|.
-a – see -ti
-ti denotes a personal noun (including groups of people); sometimes -a is used, as in ap’a.
–ze denotes a physical thing (including places and body parts)
–ze’e denotes an abstract or spiritual thing
–te is the singular adjective marker; –tes denotes two; –ste denotes plural. Adjectives follow the noun even when it separates the subject from the verb, unlike Shshi. se’koi’ze| chu’tes| is (two) hard stones; se’koi’ze| chu’ste| is (three or more) hard stones. In contrast, in Shshi, (two or more) hard stones is da’ju| shka’zi|
The concept of much or many uses reduplication as in Shum’za, except that sometimes the first “syllable” is abbreviated; cf. gwi’gwir’ze
There is no place marker like Shshi –mi. –che is used on all fortress names. Otherwise places are simply designated with –ze like any other physical thing.
Here is a list of cognate sounds (Shshi given first) (these so not have a 100% correlation): j = ch; r = hro; n = m; sh = s; zh = ts. Also, in vowels, a is often rendered with e and sometimes o or oi; u may be u or uh.
Northern Nasute Vocabulary (Sorted by NN)
|a (e’a)||sho||*ap||be (inf.)|
|a’ti||sho’zei||*a||being, creature, person|
|ap’a||pai’zei||*pa-a from *sup + a (acting + creature)||warrior|
|che’ze||cha||*etach||fortress (SN: uch; Y/G: tet’me; chet’me)|
|chu’te||ju (da’ju)||*chuh||hard, firm|
|-e-||-a-||place holder in names. Thus, Ju’mu’s “real” name is Chu’te’e’nu’a in Northern Nasute|
|e’||denotes infinitive in initial use|
|gur(e’gur)||lugo, guto||thunder, also shake (inf.)|
|gur’ze’e||lug’zi, gut’zi||thunder, also shaking (noun)|
|gwi’gwir’ze||no equivalent||carton, lit., much chewed thing|
|gwir (e’gwir)||gwolo||*gwer||chew (inf.)|
|hep (e’hep)||hio||defend (inf.)|
|hro’ze||ro’mi||land, fortress holdings|
|ma’mo’sa||na’sha’ma||*ma-sa-na or *na-ma-sa||king, male progenitor|
|mo’te||na (da’na)||*ma||holy, sacred|
|na’tu’ta||ma’na’ta||See notes above table||mother, female progenitor|
|raia’te||yo||*rya||ancient, very old|
|rash’ta’rak’ze’e||None||ancient being without Caste; rash = ? variant of raia’te|
|‘re||wei||*war||not (negative verb marker)|
|su (e’su)||shuo||*sup||do or act (inf.)|
|ta’rak’ze’e (female + ? + abstract being marker||da’kei| shai’zei|||no known cognates||one outside of a Caste, or of an outer Caste; hence, one who does not belong.|
|to (e’to)||teio||see (inf.)|
ei’ denotes infinitive in initial use
z’ denotes the plural
’de is the singular adjective marker
’ge is the plural adjective marker
s (final) is the marker of a gerund adjectival form, e.g. seeing is tois’de|
’luh is the adverb marker.
’ai concludes all prepositions
’tzuh denotes a personal noun
’tze denotes a being who is not a Shi (includes spiritual and animal)
’tzi denotes a being who is a Shi, also a personal name
’tze’uh denotes an abstraction
’ze denotes a physical thing
’ze’uh denotes a body part
’me denotes a place
’me’uh denotes a non-specific place, like sea or sky or underground or mountain
’tet is stuck on the end of fortress names among the Yo’sho’zei
’chet is stuck on the end of fortress names among the Gwai’sho’zei
There is no such thing as a place-holder.
An example of a Yo’sho’zei word: tzwem’ge| z’yuh’ze’uh| meaning sticky heads. Cf. Northern Nasute for sticky heads (people): swem’ste| se’uhm’ze’ti| In Shum’za, the same is da’swan| shum’zi| zei’zei| [or sho’zei|]. But the Shum’za would contract it to swan’shum’zei|
Warriors’ names have no requisite number of syllables or ending, although many end in ’tzuh, which Di’fa’kro’mi translates as ’a, making the names ressemble Northern Nasute names.
Yo’sho’zei/Gwai’sho’zeiVocabulary (sorted by Y/G)
|’chet||fortress marker in G.; see word tet’me|
|’de||singular adjective marker|
|ei’||denotes infinitive in initial use|
|k’k||Indicator utterance, marking the end of a sentence|
|nuh’||Object link, affixed to beginning of verbs|
|dne (dne’luh, dne’tze’uh)||*daln||now (adv.), present time (noun)|
|dol’ai||*daln||before (prep.) (temporal use)|
|dol’tze’uh, dol’de, dol’luh||*daln||past, time before (noun); past (adj.); before (adv.)|
|fish (ei’fish)||*ifsh||heal (inf.)|
|guoi’me’uh||*gua||sea, ocean (noun)|
|hma’no’tze||*na+ma+a||designates a King of the Nameless One (holy male creature, not a Shi)|
|hma’no’tzi||*na+ma+a||King; designates a King who is a Shi (holy male Shi creature)|
|kya||*kya||one (root of one, first, etc.)|
|mro’de||*mvro||bright, light, shining (as of the moon) (adj.)|
|ses’wa’de||*sesk + *war||good, blessed|
|spa’tzuh||*pa-a from *sup + a (acting + creature)||warrior|
|ta’ta’wa’tze||Nameless One, or very female not-created one|
|ta’tzi||mother (who is a Shi)|
|tet’me||*etach||fortress (S: cha|; SN: uch|; NN: che’ze|) Both dialects, but used as a fortress marker in Y. Fortress marker in G. is ’chet|
|toi (ei’toi)||*toei||see (inf.)|
|tois’de||*toei||seeing (gerund adj.)|
|tza (ei’tza)||*a||be (inf.)|
|tza’tze||*a||being, creature (not a Shi)|
|tza’tzi||being, creature, race, people (applied to Shi only) (sing. and pl.)|
|tzi’ta||*ta’zi||Shi (lit., creature of female)|
|’wa||*war||not (negative indicator attached to verb, sometimes in other parts of speech)|
|we’||*war||not, un-, without (noun or adjective prefix)|
|we’rakh’tze’uh||state of being casteless (with implication of evil or punishment)|
|we’toi’de||unseen, invisible (adj.)|
|vwi’de||*vwi||dark, without light (adj.)|
|vwi’tze’uh||*vwi||dark, condition of no light (noun)|
|ya’de’tza’tzi (ancient race) (collective, sing. or plural)||Yo’sho’zei (Ancient Ones) (no plural)|
Language of the Shrin’ok Da’wai (Southern Nasutes)
The word for “fortress” is uch’me| and all fortress names end in ‘uch|. Di’fa’kro’mi chooses to keep this word but Chi’mo’a’tu confuses it with the Shum’za ucho| which means to clean. So he reduces it to u|, used as a place holder.
Note that SN uses –me for a place designation, like Y/G.
Warriors and Alates alike have three syllable names, with no obligatory indicators. All eggs from the same laying get the same nymph-name; thus Pai’it’zei, Akh’it’zei, Gwaf’it’zei and Mu’it’zei are identified as hatchmates and were nymph-named It, Hammer.
A King’s name is made by suffixing no’hna to the nymph name, which may be up to three syllables. A Mother’s name is made by suffixing no’ta to the nymph name, which may be up to three syllables.
’de: adjective suffix, singular
A Table of Selected Words Shown in All Four Languages
|Shum’za||N. Nasute||S. Nasute||Y/G||Root||Inj|
|na (da’na)||mo’te||no’de||hma’de||*ma||holy, sacred|
|ma’na’ta||na’tu’ta||no’ta||ta’tzi||See earlier notes||mother|